April 15th, 2005 Comments Off on Acid2

The Web Standards project has finally released its new Web standards test, Acid2, which is designed to check the correct implementation of advanced HTML, CSS, and PNG features in modern browsers. Quite predictably, all browsers flunk the test.

Gecko, the rendering engine behind Mozilla, fails considerably in some areas, although it visually aproximates the correct result. I was surprised at how hard Internet Explorer’s rendering engine fails. The displayed page in IE has nothing whatsoever to do with the right result.


That made think how little we use CSS’s advanced features, considering the wildly differing CSS implementations, which, as shown by the test, have even more problems than previously thought.

The work to correct the flaws has already started. Dave Hyatt, Safari’s primary developer, has fixed some bugs in that browser’s rendering engine, and explains what he did in his blog. Mozilla will probably follow Safari’s lead soon. What’s left to know is if and how Internet Explorer will fix the problems, considering the uncertainty behind its development — even if the team behind it was reassembled, they don’t seem particularly willing to rework IE’s rendering engine.

Anyway, Acid2 is a good and interesting piece of work, and I’m sure the browser market, given time, will be better because of it, especially now that people are becoming more aware of the power of development techniques like Ajax.

By the way, if you want to learn how the test works, there’s a page with detailed information about it.

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